Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



Suburban sprawl and sustainable development has received increasing worldwide attention over the past few decades. In 1998, sustainable development principles were codified in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system. The most recent LEED certification system to be released, LEED for New Development (LEED-ND), includes sustainable development goals with the addition of smart growth principles intended to curb sprawl. This study examines and evaluates LEED-ND in order to determine if it meets the requirements of sustainable development to provide for the needs of future generations, as defined by the United Nation’s World Commission on Environment and Development. It also analyzes certified LEED-ND projects to determine which portions of the rating system were utilized the most, and least, frequently, and provided recommendations for future LEED-ND revisions. The study found that, while LEED-ND does promote most long-term sustainable development goals, it focuses more upon climate change and social equity than it does in combating sprawl and its environmental impacts. However, its inflexible and exclusory nature prevent many sustainable development goal from being fulfilled, and its use of double-counting credits exaggerates its sustainable development achievements.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Wilson, Vincent